Report: IOC Member: Tokyo Olympics to Be Postponed Due to Coronavirus

Tokyo Olympics
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound confirmed what many had been expecting for a long time: the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be postponed due to the Coronavirus.

After various Olympic teams under the Team USA umbrella along with the nations of Canada and Brazil, said that they would not send their athletes to the games without massive changes or a postponement, the decision to postpone became, in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s words, “inevitable.”

“On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided,” Pound told USA Today in a phone interview. “The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know.

“It will come in stages,” he said. “We will postpone this and begin to deal with all the ramifications of moving this, which are immense.”

When asked about Pound’s claim that the Olympics will in fact be postponed, the IOC would only say they are looking at “scenarios.”

“Well, as we announced yesterday, we are looking at scenarios,” said IOC Spokesman Mark Adams.

According to USA Today:

The Olympics would be the latest – and, by far, most significant – sporting event to be impacted by the coronavirus, which was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December. Also known as COVID-19, the virus rapidly spread throughout China and across the world in subsequent months, infecting hundreds of thousands of people and causing substantial disruptions to daily life in numerous countries.

Pound’s comments came less than 24 hours after IOC president Thomas Bach indicated, for the first time, that postponing the Tokyo Games would be a possibility. In a letter to the athlete community, he said the IOC would begin exploring alternate ways to stage the Games, including postponement, and plan to reach a decision within the next four weeks.

On Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had called the suspension of the Olympics, “inevitable,” unless it could be played in full.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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